Relocation as a Kafka novel?

Ennui.  Self-loathing.  Moral terpitude.  Feelings you get from reading a Kafka novel?  Nope.  All by-products of trying to re-locate.

Some favorite experiences to date:

1. Applying for an expatriate bank account with Wells Fargo.  I spend 20 minutes online supplying reams of personal details for me and my wife.  At the end of the process, the web site says, “Congratulations, you have successfully completed Step 1.  Please proceed to Step 2 by downloading and filling out this form.”  Form 2 asks for the same information.

2. Immigration.  I’m speaking to a colleague about the status of my work papers.  “We’ll get that started when you get here.”  My response, “I’m arriving on a one-way ticket with two suitcases and a cat in a crate.  Do you think they will ask any questions?”

3. Post office box back in the States. My wife sets one up, but it can’t be finalized without my visit to the post office,showing a passport and another photo i.d.  I get there and the clerk says, “Oh, that wasn’t really necessary.  I guess I can take a quick look at your driver’s license.”  Which he does.  Then proceeds to do nothing with it.

4. Health insurance.  With two weeks between jobs, I need to extend my old employer’s benefits using “COBRA”.  I ask my HR person if I can arrange this in advance.  “No.  You will get an application in the mail a few weeks after you leave.  You can retro-actively apply for coverage.”  Try telling that to the dentist as their invoice gets rejected.  Or, try to get re-imbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.

All of this reminded me of the Onion video about “Franz Kafka International Airport” in Prague.  Enjoy:,14321/

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